Deal haggling

At Yahoo! News:

The setting:

NEW YORK – If you’re looking for an extra bargain before the holidays, you may only have to ask. With holiday sales shaping up to be the lowest in years, possibly the worst since the industry began annual comparisons in 1969, retailers say they’re taking consumers’ demands for good deals seriously. Some are extending return policies, while others are matching competitors’ prices. Many are volunteering on-the-spot discounts and even letting customers haggle prices well down from what’s marked in a desperate bid to make the cash register ring.

The plot:

“You’d have to be a moron not to ask for a discount,” said Stephen Hoch, a retailing expert at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

“When I tell them it is past the seven-day policy, they tell me that they will just return it and re-buy it” at the sale price, he[Allen Chen, a part-time cashier at a J. Crew store in White Plains, N.Y.] said, adding that his store managers are now allowing customers to do so most of the time.

The outcome:

If the International Council of Shopping Centers’ prediction for this season’s sales comes true, it would be the weakest season since the index of same-store sales started in 1969. The group expects same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, to be down 1 percent in November and December — maybe more — compared with last year.

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